Thompson leads delayed South Georgia ClassicNicholas Thompson is at the top during the suspended first round of the South Georgia Classic.April 28, 2011
Adam Wallace, Nationwide Tour Staff
VALDOSTA, Ga. -- There might be 13 hours of sunlight in a given day this time of year but only four of those hours were spent on the golf course due to dangerous weather during Thursday's first round of the South Georgia Classic presented by First State Bank and Trust Co. Only half of the 156 players in the field made their way onto Kinderlou Forest Golf Club's 7,781-yard, par-72 track. The continuation of the first round will be tomorrow morning at 7:50 a.m. ET.
Despite not a single player completing 18 holes on Thursday, Nicholas Thompson is the over-night first-round leader at 5-under thru 11 holes. There are currently four tied at 4-under par: former University of South Carolina Gamecock Kyle Thompson, Florida State University graduate Jonas Blixt, former Auburn Tiger Gary Christian and this year's Panama Claro Championship winner Mathew Goggin. Nine players are two strokes back at 3-under par.
Eight-time Major League Baseball All-Star John Smoltz received a sponsor's exemption, making his first start in a PGA TOUR co-sanctioned event. The 43-year-old who carries a +2 handicap played eight holes recording one birdie, three pars, three bogeys and a double bogey to sit at four-over par.
Thursday turned out to be a long day at the office for Nicholas Thompson but he's happy about where he stands.
"It's tough with all the starting and stopping but you can't let that keep you from trying your hardest to put up a good number," said Thompson, who made five birdies and six pars. "I'm rolling the rock well right now and I just want to keep my momentum going."
Kyle Thompson managed his time off the course almost as well as he managed his game.
"I knew we were going to have some delays today so I brought a book," said the two-time Nationwide Tour winner. "I pulled a veteran move."
A thunderstorm rolled in at 7:45 a.m. with four groups on the course halting play for five hours and 15 minutes. The sun made an appearance after lunch and play resumed at 1:00 p.m. but Tour officials were forced to blow the horns again at 3:30 p.m. when inclement weather surrounded South Georgia. The first round resumed at 7:00 p.m. and play was suspended when darkness fell at 8:05 p.m.
In anticipation of a torrential downpour tournament officials determined the first round would be played with preferred lies. The preferred lies rule will be in effect through the remainder of the first round tomorrow.
• Play was suspended for a total of eight hours and 45 minutes on Thursday.
• Jason Enloe and Andrew Giuliani were paired with John Smoltz. Enloe, the first-round leader, holed out for eagle on the par-4 12th hole from 188 yards with a 6-iron.
* Smoltz quotes: "I thought I was going to be fine out there today but I put myself in a couple of tough spots with it being so wet and mucky I fell victim to that, it can snow ball. I had a rough four-hole stretch but there's plenty of golf left. Hopefully I can turn it into a two or three over round. I look at tomorrow as a fresh start. And this whole thing is a learning experience so I can't forget that."
(See John Smoltz' blog on PGATOUR.COM on Friday for more comments)
• The afternoon wave for the first round will begin tomorrow morning at 8:50 a.m.
• John Huston withdrew at the conclusion of play. He completed 13 holes.